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Thread: Newspaper left in drain line

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member jbob's Avatar
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    Default Newspaper left in drain line

    Not really a toilet issue however a toilet install was involved.

    I had to install a new floor in a small half bath. With toilet removed I used one full sheet of newspaper to stuff the drain line with. When it was all finished and I reinstalled the toilet I forgot to remove the newspaper. On the first flush it backed up but after a few it finally rushed out like the paper was flushed away. I thought good...but on subsequent flushes it appears to back up again. If I let it sit the bowl will eventually drain down to normal.

    Some initial advice I got was to remove the toilet and try and dig out the paper. Of course upon removing the toilet I couldn't see anything in the vertical pipe down to the first bend, about 12 to 18 inches. With the toilet removed I poured a several pitchers of water to see if it was backing up but didn't notice anything so I assumed it must be gone. I reinstalled the toilet but it still backs up. Not enough volume of water in my test.

    On further research I learned of the technique of using a bucket of water to test for flow. First thing this morning a 3 gallon bucket goes through fine but the second bucket it starts backing up.

    So my question is will the newspaper eventually biodegrade or do I need to pull the toilet again and this time snake it as much as possible? I know wax seals are cheap but it get's tiring draining the toilet for removal! lol This is just a half bath and does not need to be used all that often so waiting a few days is not an issue.

  2. #2
    General Contractor Carpenter toolaholic's Avatar
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    Just a thought! If You have some roots in the lateral down stream ,they may have grabbed the paper ! There may be more going on than the NEWS here! Suggest You auger the whole line!

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member jbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolaholic View Post
    Just a thought! If You have some roots in the lateral down stream ,they may have grabbed the paper ! There may be more going on than the NEWS here! Suggest You auger the whole line!
    I doubt there are any roots but that doesn't mean there couldn't be some other obstruction. Your idea gave me a thought. I decided to pour a couple of buckets of water down the sink in the same bathroom. I know they are tied to the same verticle drain line along with the washing machine drain. Also a vent stack is there where those three tie in. A cleanout too!

    When pouring the buckets of water the sink took it all and never backed up. Since they all tie to the same master drain I was testing to see if the obstruction would affect the sink too. While the sink was draining I could hear gurgling in the toilet line. What ever I did, that appears to have sucked the newspaper out of the line. I then poured several buckets of water into the toilet and it flowed freely and doesn't appear to back up anymore.

    Looks like pouring water into the basin helped flush away the clog caused by the newspaper. Whether it was the suction that helped or not I do not know.

  4. #4
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    News print should bio degrade fairly well.

    At least it does when I try to read a wet newspaper.
    Last edited by Terry; 02-26-2009 at 09:06 AM.

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